Chances are, whether you are a football fan or not, you may be planning to host or attend a party during Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Some folks could care less about the ballgame; however, it’s the commercials that grab their attention.  Either way, it’s a good excuse for a party, and being with friends and family.  Cheer on, and munch on, but do it safely!  No one wants to wind up “off-sides”  in the emergency room during or after the game! 

First, if you are the host: do not commit  this personal foul:  you do not want to penalize your guests by failing to follow these basic rules of food safety from the USDA:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often. Don’t commit “illegal use of hands!”
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate.  Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods.
  • Cook – Use a food thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  • Chill – Refrigerate or freeze promptly.

We all understand the “two-minute” warning in football, but food safety has the “two-hour” rule.  Perishable food items that sit out for too long may not be safe to eat.  By using serving cold dishes nestled in bowls of ice, or warm items left in a heating source (slow cooker), foods will be safer.   Partially and undercooked foods are threats to food safety.  Using a food thermometer will ensure that meats are adequately cooked to the proper  temperatures.

Don’t get a false start.  Snack on some healthy items before the party to avoid overindulging.  Healthy snacks such as fruits, carrots, celery, and low-fat dips should be included in the menu.  Non-alcoholic beverages should be offered, as well.  Never chop block!  This happens when you chop raw veggies on the same cutting board that was used to cut up chicken or other raw meats.  Harmful bacteria can cross contaminate with other foods.  Clean the cutting board with hot soapy water after dicing one type of food and before starting on another. 

Help your guests avoid penalties!  If they plan to drink alcoholic beverages at your party, be sure they have a designated driver.   An accident would put a damper on everyone who attended the party, and no one ever wants an “instant replay” of a mishap because of drinking and driving. 

If you are attending a tailgate party, wear loose fitting, layered clothes, with the top layer being water repellent.  Drink warm liquids without caffeine or alcohol.  Alcohol causes the body to lose heat more quickly.  Stay active during the game – toss a football during breaks – you might even make a first down!  

This week is full of Super Bowl activities, leading up to the Big Game.  The Dallas-Fort Worth –Arlington area is going all out to welcome the Packers and Steelers teams, coaches, and fans.  Even Mother Nature is doing her part to make them feel right at home, with the coldest weather the area has seen in several years!  We know that won’t slow down the fans, and it’s our desire to see lots of them wearing their Packers and Steelers hardhats, to show their team support! 

If you are going to the game, allow plenty of time to reach your destination, and have a blast!  For those who are  giving a party, score big points by planning a safe one.   Some fans may get carried away while yelling for their team.  Stay far enough away from them that there’s no “roughing the viewer” flag!

Sources: USDA, CDC